- Jonathan Winters
Snowdrop American Dry Gin Review
A decidedly different tasting gin from Vermont. Smooth drinking with a anise forward flavor
Review Snowdrop American Dry Gin
Made in: Vermont, By Saxtons River Distillery.
Method: Low temperature vacuum distilled
44.5% alcohol/89 proof
Botanicals 18: Juniper, anise seed, coriander, star anise, ginger, thyme, cocoa, orris root, sarsaparilla root, rosemary, grains of paradise, allspice, fennel seed, orange peel, cardamom, Damiana leaf, caraway seed.
Style: Modern gin.
This review is for bottle 171, batch 16.
My favorite gin mavin in the state of Connecticut, Jules, who curates the gin section of Spencer & Lynn in Mystic, pointed me towards this gin - saying it’s something worth trying.
Named after the first flower to bloom after the snow begins to melt, this Vermont gin is made using a vacuum distillation process. By changing the pressure in the distillation vessel it allows the extraction and saving of many volatile oils from botanicals that might otherwise be lost.
The gin is notable for using botanicals like cocoa, allspice , which are not commonly found in gin, and damiana leaf which I had never heard of. Damiana is a shrub native to the West Indies, Central America and Mexico. It has a number of medicinal uses, including being known as an aphrodisiac. Definitely the first time I’ve heard of that in a gin.
It took a bit of ice, and about a minute for the heat of this gin to mellow. When it did this made for a lovely sipping gin with a silky, viscous, mouthfeel and well balanced flavors.
The bouquet is of bitter orange, mint, anise, with hints of eucalyptus.
A sip of this gin tells you that it’s a very herb forward gin, with the dominant flavors being anise and bitter orange. Behind that are hints of cocoa, rosemary, cardamom, and caraway with just the slightest whisper of coffee. The finish shows notes of pepper and ginger. That said the flavors are mellow, and not overwhelming making this a very easy to drink gin.
On the tongue it is silky and viscous and covers the palate
This is one of those gins so good that I hesitated to mix it. But to be a reviewer is a hard life. Sacrifices needed to be made. So I made cocktails.
Snowdrop makes a truly superlative martini with a splash of Noilly Pratt. In this form the delicate flavors of the gin really show their depth, and expose the flavors of the different herbs and botanicals that make up this gin. You’ll taste the rosemary, ginger, cocoa, allspice, and more.
In the traditional gin and tonic, made with the London Essence rosemary and grapefruit the gin showed beautifully making for an excellent gin and tonic. The herbaceous nature of the gin carried through nicely.
More complex mixed drinks were excellent with this gin too. I started with a Bijou, but then moved onto an Aviation, Last Word, and even a Bees Knees (don’t worry, just a tiny sip of each, I’m really very fond of my liver, though I’m not sure it appreciates me half as much). Basically it worked well in just about anything that could handle a good kick of herbaceousness.
This is not a perfect gin for everyone, but heck it’s not far from it. It can handle cocktails, it can be sipped, and it’s flavor profile is awfully nice for a gin which is so herb forward. Unlike other herb forward gins, like Uncle Val’s Botanical, or Gin Mare, it’s not as Mediterranean flavor forward, but more distinctly unique.
And as to the aphrodisiac qualities, I think it really, really, really made me like this gin.
Overall rating: 94 This one is a winner, definitely an elite level gin which offers serious flexibility in how you choose to drink it.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.